Monks hugging kids...

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:23 am

This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

with metta
Chris
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:53 am

cooran wrote:This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

with metta
Chris

Hi, Chris,
With respect, can I suggest you re-read the OP? You have made six (by my count) statements about what the thread is/isn't about, only one of which (the one I have bolded) seems to relate directly to the OP.
The issue of "males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children" is a real hot potato in our (Australian) society. It triggers all sorts of over-reactions (on both sides, from all quarters). Conflating our responses to that issue with vinaya issues isn't helpful, IMO, and, again IMO, drags the thread off-topic. Perhaps you would like to start a new thread about the issue you feel we should be talking about? I would happily contribute my perspective as a long-time primary school teacher.

:namaste:
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:27 am

Hello Kim,

Respectfully, I disagree. The original photo in the OP showed a theravada monk (the OP) hugging a young girl. I agree with the immediate response of Bhikkhu Pesala.
(Other posts have wandered here and there - as happens in conversations. One or two completely off topic, or mentioning scandals within various traditions have been removed.)

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Chris
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:00 am

cooran wrote:Hello Kim,

Respectfully, I disagree. The original photo in the OP showed a theravada monk (the OP) hugging a young girl. I agree with the immediate response of Bhikkhu Pesala.
(Other posts have wandered here and there - as happens in conversations. One or two completely off topic, or mentioning scandals within various traditions have been removed.)

with metta
Chris

Hi, Chris,
I also agree with Bhikkhu Pesala's response. But the generic 'males in authoritative positions' you introduced do raise more problems than I think we can deal with in a topic about 'Monks hugging kids': different cultures, different roles, different rules, different expectations.
Now, getting :focus:
If I were ordained (I'm not, and don't ever expect to be) I would try to keep both letter and spirit of the vinaya - but when and if they clashed, I hope I would have the courage and decency to follow the spirit rather than being bound by the letter. That was the point of DarwidHalim's zen anecdote and the point of my support of BuddhaSoup's post.

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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:29 am

cooran wrote:This thread is not about saving a drowning person in a lake.

It is about males in authoritative positions touching very young helpless children.

It is not about legalism. It is about the First Basket of the Tipitaka, memorised from the time of the Buddha, and carefully followed by uncountable bhikkhus who are practising well from that time onwards.

It is not about prejudice or judgmentalism, it is being firm with those who would unwittingly remove protection from children while thinking they are the only ones being mature, open-minded and compassionate.

Why not work just a week or two in Child Health (anywhere, in any country) and come across many children who have been inappropriately treated sexually by someone viewed by others as a pillar of the community?

with metta
Chris


Wow, what a post. You have basically equated a man touching a child as paedophilia.

Paedophiles are men (mostly, there are woman paedophiles too) who touch children but not everyone who touches a child is a paedophile.

What would you think of a monk who was holding a male child?

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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:19 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I find the photograph quite shocking. It is such an obvious display of affection by a bhikkhu. I understand it to be an offence of wrong doing — one of the clauses to Sanghadisesa 2.
Intention. The Vinita-vatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a dukkaṭa.

The other consideration is that of wrong livelihood as a corrupter of families under Sanghadisesa 13.
3) He lives in unbecoming association with householders.

You may think that affection is a wholesome dhamma, but if so, please explain how it could lead to grief and fear. Piya Vagga — Dhammapada.

Of course, there is no harm in loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karunā), or sympathetic-joy (muditā), which are wholesome dhammas, but there is no need to cuddle children to show them kindness and compassion. If a very young girl touches a bhikkhu, there is no need to push her away for fear of being accused of a Sanghadisesa offence, but there no reason to actively take hold of and hug a child. Perhaps there might be if a young child is very distressed or injured, and in need of reassurance. I take it to be self-evident that if a woman is drowning there is no offence in pulling her to safety.

Although the receiving cloth is not used in Burma, well-informed female lay supporters take care to avoid touching bhikkhus when offering things to them.

Even eye-contact is avoided — though we westerners find that very difficult when talking to people. While listening to the Dhamma, ladies sit with their hand in anjali, and their eyes downcast — not making eye-contact at all.

If you want further clarification, I advise visiting Sayādaw U Dhammānanda in Wat Tamao, Lampang, which is not far from you. I hope that the Sayādaw is still living — he is an exemplary Dhamma teacher. I don't think he speaks much English, but I assume he knows Thai quite well as he has lived in Thailand for many years.

Hello Bankei,

Please don't inject more into my post than was meant. I was agreeing with what Bhante said, and putting it in other words.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:57 am

The two posts don't look similar to me.

So, what would you think of a male monk holding a male child?

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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:24 am

My personal thoughts aren't the important thing in this discussion.

What does the Vinaya say?

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Bankei » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:29 am

cooran wrote:My personal thoughts aren't the important thing in this discussion.

What does the Vinaya say?

with metta
Chris


The vinaya positions have been outlined above.

I was interested in your personal opinion because of your post above regarding child health services. I was wondering how that crept into the discussion.

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Re: Monks hugging kids...

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:44 am

Dear all,

I believe the usefulness of this thread has been exhausted and it will now be closed.
kind regards,

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
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but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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